Nevertheless some 130 years have past since the premiere production of the play A Doll’s House is still up-to-date and is likely to remain such further. The main intrigue is the tragedy of a woman totally devoted to her husband appearing to be unworthy of her love and devotion. The protagonist of the play Nora is married to Torvald Helmer a well-to-do banking clerk expecting for his forthcoming promotion. He is “a good man and an enviable husband.
Almost every mother would be proud of such a match for her daughter, and the latter would consider herself fortunate to become the wife of such a man.”ť (Goldman). He seems to possess everything a man could wish to possess ”“ a well-paid job, the house of his own, three children and Nora his wife his “little skylark”ť and “squirrel””ťas he is used to call her at other people’s presence. She really loved him for when “a woman loves as Nora does, nothing else matters; least of all, social, legal or moral considerations. Therefore, when her husband’s life is threatened, it is no effort, it is joy for Nora to forge her father’s name to a note and borrow 800 crones on it, in order to take her sick husband to Italy”ť (Goldman). According to XIX century low women were not free to borrow money from a bank unless an application for a loan is co-signed by a man. (Wikipedia). In order to pay the debt off Nora has to earn money secretly from her husband being afraid to hurt his pride letting him know about that. It lasts during several years until her husband’s subordinate Nils Krogstad began to blackmail her. It was he who had borrowed her money when she had forged her father’s signature. Being on the verge of dismissal Krogstad threatens to reveal her secret before Torvald if Nora could not persuade him not to fire the blackmailer. Nora did her best but failed. After all Torvald learns Nora’s secret. But instead of thanking for his salvation he began to scold her. He said that since she is a mean dishonest woman she must not raise up their children. However soon after Krogstad returned the incriminating papers Torvald changed his mind again. Having realized that nobody would know about Nora’s affair so there would be no disgrace for him he said that he had forgiven her (!) and now beseeching her to stay with him yet Nora said that “the miracle of the miracles”ť could make her stay with him. Having said this she left their home slamming the door.
The very name of the play is strikingly eloquent. All the characters have to act their parts but not to live the lives of their own. Nora has always supposed her husband to be embodiment of all the virtues a man ought to possess but he appeared to be a weak mean ungrateful coward totally dependent on the so-called public opinion. For the sake of such a nonentity’s salvation Nora herself I dare to say performed an exploit having gotten involved into criminal affair and having gone into debt. As she confessed herself “it was splendid to work in that way and earn money. I almost felt as if I was a man.”ť That is exactly the very essence of the tragedy. A woman simply wanted to be beloved to be treated as a human being to be treated as she did. There is no revolutionary message in her both deeds and words. Having been betrayed Nora acts spontaneously not being aware what she is doing. That could explain her leaving the children.
But in spite of all the blows Nora endured she still hopes for the happiness she deserved for, for the “the greatest miracle of all”ť her beloved husband is to succeed to perform for her. After all she did.